Six years ago my friend and client was riding in her car over the Pensacola bridge when an awning from a recreational vehicle (RV) detached. The awning rod went through the windshield of her car striking her in the face.
It has been a long six years for her. She has undergone numerous surgeries and is battling an infection in her mouth so she can keep the implanted teeth.
I wrote about the wreck and the danger of awnings unfurling while a vehicle is proceeding down the road.
This week I received an inquiry about that post from a man whose awning rod also detached. Fortunately, it did not hit anyone.
He had a Carefree of Colorado awning. He read other articles about awnings unfurling and contacted the manufacturer.
What he described was his awning unfurling where the roller drive hub start spinning on the motor shaft and lets the awning out just like in my friend’s case.
His local RV repair guy showed him another a Carefree motor where the same thing happened.
Apparently, Carefree has redesigned the motor shaft and drive hub on this particular series. I cannot find where they have notified owners of the models involved of this potential problem. The man who contacted me advised that he had never been contacted.
So what should you do if you own an awning that unfurls while you are driving?
Contact the manufacturer or its representative so they know of the problem. They should investigate to determine if they have a design or production problem. It may be just an unusual occurrence or even a misuse, but you should still contact them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. They also publish safety recalls and complaints on their website related to equipment. I have listed a few of those that I was able to find relating to Carefree of Colorado.
THE AWNING FOR THE SLIDE-OUT ROOM OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLES CAN UNFURL OR UNROLL DURING TRANSIT CAUSING THE BRACKET TO RIP FREE OF THE SIDEWALL OF THE VEHICLE.
THE AWNING COULD BREAK LOOSE WHILE THE VEHICLE IS IN MOTION RESULTING IN A VEHICLE ACCIDENT AND PERSONAL INJURY.
DEALERS WILL INSTALL ARM LOCKS, ANTI-BILLOW STUDS AND BRACKETS AS WELL AS WIND DEFLECTORS ON THESE AWNINGS.
SYSTEM: EQUIPMENT; OTHER PIECES. EQUIPMENT DESCRIPTION: AWNING USED ON SLIDE-OUT ROOMS ON RECREATIONAL VEHICLES. SEE ALSO CAMPAIGN NO. 96V036, WINNEBAGO. NOTE: OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME, SHOULD CONTACT CAREFREE AT 1-800-621-2617. ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-800-424-9393.
Manufacturer: Carefree Of Colorado
Carefree of Colorado (Carefree) is recalling certain Latitude Awnings styles GX and G manufactured April 10, 2014, to November 4, 2014. The awnings were supplied to various vehicle manufacturers as original equipment for use in manufacturing new motorhomes. The affected awnings may have screws that attach the lateral arm brackets to the mounting brackets that were not manufactured to specification.
The screws could fail, causing the supporting bracket to fail, and the awning to fall and potentially strike and injure a person beneath it.
Manufacturer: Carefree Of Colorado
Carefree Of Colorado (Carefree) is recalling certain Latitude awnings, styles GX and GW, manufactured August 7, 2014, to October 3, 2014. The mounting brackets of the affected awnings may crack, and the awnings may fall.
If an awning falls, there is an increased risk of injury to anyone under the awning.
Owners will be notified by their vehicle manufacturer with instructions on how to obtain the free remedy. Owners should contact their vehicle manufacturer for more information or they may contact Carefree customer service at 1-800-621-2617.
Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2007 CAREFREE ECLIPSE AWNING. THE CONTACT STATED THAT WHILE DRIVING APPROXIMATELY 50 MPH, THE MOTOR FAILED AND THE AWNING DEPLOYED OUTWARD. THE VEHICLE WAS MANEUVERED TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND THE CONTACT HAD TO TIE DOWN THE AWNING TO CONTINUE DRIVING. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER AND THE CONTACT WAS INFORMED THAT THE MOTOR FOR THE AWNING NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. THE AWNING WAS NOT REPAIRED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED AND OFFERED NO ASSISTANCE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS APPROXIMATELY 22,100. UPDATED 11/3/11*LJ THE CONSUMER STATED THE ECLIPSE ELECTRIC AWNING MOTOR FAILED, RESULTING IN THE AWNING DROPPING WHILE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. THE AWNING HAD NO SAFETY MECHANISM. UPDATED 12/02/11
INFORMATION REDACTED PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) THIS COMPLAINT INVOLVES A LARGE PATIO AWNING MANUFACTURED BY CAREFREE OF COLORADO. THE MODEL OF THE AWNING IS THEIR ECLIPSE MODEL. THE ONLY THING THAT HOLDS THE AWNING IN PLACE ON THE RV, AS IT IS GOING DOWN THE ROAD, IS THE MOTOR. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CASES OF MOTOR FAILURE, ESPECIALLY IN THE SHAFT, THAT HAVE LED TO THE PATIO AWNING DEPLOYING WHILE TRAVELING ON A HIGHWAY, CREATING A VERY UNSAFE CONDITION TO THE MOTORING PUBLIC, THE MOTORHOME PASSENGERS, AND ESPECIALLY ANY VEHICLE IN THE IMMEDIATELY VICINITY OF THE TRAVELING MOTORHOME, AND THE DRIVER TRIES TO GET TO THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY AND PULL OFF TO STOP. THESE INCIDENTS ARE ON GOING, AND IT IS UNKNOWN HOW MANY ACCIDENTS HAVE BEEN CAUSED, OR WHAT TYPE. OBVIOUSLY IT IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION, WHICH COULD CERTAINLY LEAD TO A VERY SERIOUS ACCIDENT. PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS SITUATION, AND POSSIBLY COMPEL THE MANUFACTURER, CARFREE OF COLORADO TO TAKE SOME STEPS TO REMIDY THE SITUATION, POSSIBLY BY MAKING AVAILABLE SOME T;YPE OT LOCKING DEVICE OTHER THAN JUST A SHAFT, FLATTENED ON ONE OR TWO PLACES TO HOLD THE AWNING IN PLACE AS THE VEHICLE TRAVELS DOWN THE ROAD AT 60 OR 70 MPH, SOMETIMES INTO A WIND BLOWING 50 MPH. [XXX] *TR
PURCHASED A PRESIDENTS CLUB FIESTA AWNING FOR $1000.00 FROM CAREFREE OF COLORADO AND A MANUFACTURE DEFECT CAUSE THE AWNING TO FAIL AND GET DAMAGED AND CAREFREE REFUSES TO HONOR THIER WARRANTY. *TR